XCOM 2: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

When it comes to challenging and immersive tactics games, XCOM is a franchise that stands out. The latest installment, XCOM 2, developed by Firaxis, offers an incredible gaming experience. In this beginner’s guide, we will provide you with essential information on soldier classes, Avenger rooms, and general gameplay tips to help you start your XCOM 2 adventure on the right foot.

General XCOM 2 Tactics

Plan Your Turns Strategically

XCOM 2 is a turn-based game, allowing you to take your time when planning your moves. It’s wise to think ahead and consider the abilities and strengths of your squad members. Instead of rushing into battles, take the time to strategize and plan your squad’s actions before confirming any moves. This approach will give you a tactical advantage and increase your chances of success.

Concealment and Overwatch: A Deadly Combination

In XCOM 2, many missions begin with your squad in a “concealed” state, where enemies are unaware of your presence. This presents an opportunity to position your troops strategically and even eliminate enemies without being detected. Take advantage of your squad’s concealment by placing them on high ground and in flanking positions.

To maximize your advantage, activate Overwatch on all but one of your squad members. This will allow them to automatically fire at any enemies that come into view, triggering a free attack and granting you the upper hand. Focus your Overwatch positions to cover as much of the enemy field as possible, ensuring you take out multiple targets in one round.

Extract Fallen Soldiers

In XCOM 2, soldier deaths are permanent, adding a high-stakes element to the game. When a soldier falls in battle, make sure to extract their body back to the Avenger, your mobile base. By doing so, you can retrieve their equipment and prevent alien desecration. Extracting fallen soldiers preserves their gear and allows you to equip it on other squad members.

Utilize Explosives Strategically

Explosives play a crucial role in XCOM 2. Armor in the game can be shredded by explosives, making enemies more vulnerable to subsequent attacks. Additionally, environmental elements that provide cover can be destroyed with grenades, exposing enemies and giving you an advantage.

To make the most of explosive damage, consider leading your attacks with grenades. This will shred enemy armor, destroy cover, and weaken your foes. By starting with explosives, you pave the way for more effective attacks from the rest of your squad.

Prioritize Resistance Expansion

In XCOM 2, it is vital to focus on expanding the resistance early on. Contact new regions, build radio towers in your owned territories, and prioritize expanding the resistance network. These actions will increase your monthly supply income, which is essential for long-term success. Radio towers also reduce the intel cost of contacting new regions, allowing for quicker access to critical story missions and facilities.

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Classy Soldiers and Builds

XCOM 2 offers a variety of soldier classes, each with unique abilities and playstyles. Understanding the different classes and their skill trees will help you build a well-rounded squad. Let’s take a closer look at each class:


Grenadiers excel at dealing explosive damage and reshaping the battlefield. They can carry and fire more grenades than other soldiers, making them a valuable control class. Two primary skill trees for grenadiers are:

  • Demolitions Expert: This tree focuses on enhancing grenade frequency and effectiveness.
  • Heavy Gunner: Emphasizes using cannons and shredding enemy armor through direct fire.


Rangers are up-close-and-personal damage dealers, perfect for finishing off high-priority enemies on the field. They have enhanced synergy with the game’s concealment mechanics. Consider the following skill trees:

  • Scout: Enhances stealth capabilities, allowing rangers to take advantage of concealment.
  • Assault: Emphasizes the use of the ranger’s sword for powerful melee attacks.


As the name suggests, sharpshooters excel at long-range combat. They can choose between two skill trees:

  • Sniper: Provides high damage from a distance, perfect for providing cover for the squad.
  • Gunslinger: Enables the sharpshooter to maintain pressure while on the move, using pistols for rapid shots.


Specialists are flexible support units that employ flying gremlin drones for healing, protection, hacking, and disabling robotic enemies. The two skill trees for specialists are:

  • Battle Medic: Focused on healing and revival protocols for the squad.
  • Combat Hacker: Emphasizes hacking abilities to disable enemy robots effectively.

Psi Operative

The psi operative is a unique class that levels up through specialized training rather than field experience. These soldiers possess psychic abilities that can be extremely impactful on the battlefield. Primary skill trees for psi operatives include:

  • Psiblade: Enhances melee capabilities with psi blades.
  • Dynamo: Provides support abilities for manipulating the battlefield with focus points.


SPARK units are robotic soldiers with high defense and attack. They can serve as damage dealers or support units. Their Overdrive ability allows them to take multiple actions in a turn. SPARKs have two skill trees:

  • War Machine: Focuses on raw power with abilities like breaking through walls, avoiding recoil penalties, and delivering massive melee attacks.
  • Future Combat: Balances offense and defense, providing boosts to heavy weapons and extra armor points.
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Base Building and Facilities

Your base, the Avenger, serves as the central hub in XCOM 2. It is essential to manage and optimize your base to support your missions and overall strategy. Here are some tips for effective base building:

Resistance Ring

Build the Resistance Ring as soon as possible. This facility allows you to coordinate covert actions with resistance factions, providing valuable rewards such as equipment, intel, and recruits. It also helps you track down and defeat the Chosen, unlocking new resistance orders and expanding your influence.


The Infirmary acts as a medical facility, increasing the healing rate of your injured soldiers. It also allows you to remove adverse characteristics acquired by soldiers and provides the Hypervital Module, which temporarily restores wounded soldiers to full health for a single mission. The Infirmary becomes more critical in Ironman mode or when focusing on a smaller, elite unit.

Training Center

The Training Center enables soldiers to purchase new abilities using earned ability points. It offers a wide range of customization options, allowing soldiers to learn skills from different classes. It also facilitates the advancement of soldier bonds beyond the primary level. The Training Center is a valuable addition to your base as your squad grows more refined.

Remember to consider the adjacency of rooms when planning your base layout. Some rooms have special conditions that require adjacency to specific rooms, such as the Workshop. Keep your engineers busy, utilize power relays effectively, and clear out rooms for additional supplies and resources.

Tips for War of the Chosen

War of the Chosen introduces new challenges and features to XCOM 2. To navigate this expansion successfully, keep the following tips in mind:

Deal with the Chosen Early

The Chosen are powerful enemies that become more potent over time. It is crucial to prioritize dealing with them early on to prevent their growth. Coordinate covert actions with the resistance factions to locate and eliminate the Chosen. Defeating them not only alleviates their threat but also rewards you with unique and powerful weapons.

Handle the Lost Effectively

The Lost are zombie-like enemies that can swarm you in large groups. They can change the dynamics of missions significantly. Remember to keep your formation tight and avoid overextending. Taking shots from high ground, flanking positions, or while in concealment can grant you additional actions. Use these extra actions to chain kills and stay ahead of the Lost.

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Manage Soldier Fatigue

Soldiers can experience fatigue, both physically and mentally, even without sustaining injuries. Tired soldiers have a higher chance of developing negative personality quirks that can hinder your progress. Avoid bringing tired units on missions unless necessary. Consider placing them in the Infirmary to remove adverse characteristics or allow them to rest for a few days to recover.

Foster Soldier Bonds

Soldiers can form bonds by fighting alongside each other. These bonds unlock powerful abilities and provide support in crucial situations. Encourage soldiers to work together, revive each other, and survive difficult missions to strengthen their bonds. Remember that soldier bonds are monogamous, so choose pairings carefully.

Maximize Ability Points

XCOM 2 now uses a system of earned ability points to purchase upgrades. Soldiers earn individual AP through experience, while shared AP can be spent on any character. Use high ground, flanking positions, and concealed attacks to accumulate shared AP during missions. Consider saving shared points until you have a skilled squad to invest them wisely.

Prepare for New Minions

War of the Chosen introduces new enemy types, such as Priests, Purifiers, and Spectres. Prioritize taking out Priests early to neutralize their psychic abilities. Be cautious when dealing with Purifiers, as they explode upon death. Spectres can be a nuisance with their Shadowbound ability, which creates clones of your soldiers. Plan your strategies accordingly to counter these threats.

Harness the Faction Classes

The expansion also introduces three resistance faction classes: Reapers, Skirmishers, and Templars. Recruit these powerful soldiers early and utilize their unique abilities. Reapers excel in stealth and reconnaissance, Skirmishers are highly mobile and versatile, and Templars possess potent psionic abilities. Make the most of these specialized classes to gain an edge in combat.

Utilize New Facilities

War of the Chosen introduces new facilities that enhance your base’s capabilities. Build the Resistance Ring to coordinate covert actions, the Infirmary to heal and remove adverse traits, and the Training Center to unlock new abilities and advance soldier bonds. These facilities provide valuable resources and aid in managing your troops effectively.

With these tips in mind, you are well-equipped to embark on your XCOM 2 journey. Good luck, Commander!

OnSpec Electronic, Inc

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